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Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Thyroid Cancer
General Tips for Gathering Information
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
- Do I have any specific risk factors for thyroid cancer?
- Is my family history important? Should I have genetic studies?
- How much of a risk of developing thyroid cancer do I face?
- Are there any risk factors that I can change?
- What exactly is thyroid cancer?
- What parts of the body are involved?
- What makes you think I might have thyroid cancer?
- Could you explain the tests I need?
- How accurate are the test results?
- When do you recommend screening in my children?
- Does any of the laboratory test help predict my prognosis or chance of relapse?
- What kinds of treatments are appropriate for me?
- Will I need more than one type of treatment?
- How long will my treatments last?
- What are the potential side effects/complications of the treatments?
- What is the chance that the recommended treatments will cure my thyroid cancer?
- How will we know whether the treatments have been effective or not?
- While I’m receiving treatment for thyroid cancer, will I be able to participate in my usual activities?
- What are some ways to help minimize the complications from surgery, radiation therapy, or hormonal treatment?
- What kinds of lifestyle changes will make my body stronger and healthier so that I can work with the treatments to fight thyroid cancer?
- What kinds of lifestyle changes might make me more comfortable while I’m going through treatments?
- Do you have recommendations for any support groups for myself and my family?
- How extensive is my cancer?
- Is it confined to the thyroid, or is it elsewhere in my body as well?
- What kind of prognosis does my kind of thyroid cancer have?
- How do my other medical conditions affect my prognosis?
- Once I’ve completed treatments, what will we do to monitor whether the cancer returns?
- Are there any implications for my family members regarding their risk of thyroid cancer?
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Conn’s Current Therapy. 54th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders; 2002: 652-657.
Cooper DS, Doherty GM, Haugen BR, et al. The American Thyroid Association Guidelines Taskforce: management guidelines for patients with thyroid nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2006;16:1-33.
Cornett WR, Sharma AK, Day TA, et al. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: an overview. Curr Oncol Rep. 2007;9:152-158.
Rachmiel M, Charron M, Gupta A, et al. Evidence-based review of treatment and follow up of pediatric patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2006;19:1377-1393.
Thyroid carcinoma. In: Cecil Textbook of Medicine , 21st ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company; 2000: 1247-1250.
What is thyroid cancer? American Cancer Society website. Available at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/CRI%5F2%5F3x.asp?dt=43 . Accessed December 10, 2002.
What you need to know about cancer of the thyroid. National Cancer Institute website. Available at http://cancer.gov/ . Accessed December 10, 2002.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013